A rally call has gone out for the Government to back the nation's independent retailers with a practical programme of support and investment.
Speaking on Independents' Day today (Monday), an initiative aimed at encouraging customers to buy from independent traders, British Retail Consortium (BRC) Director General Stephen Robertson gave his backing to the sector but said far more had to be done to make a real difference.
"Consumers choose to spend their money based on which retailer is offering the right products at the right price with the right service. Lots of independent retailers are doing this successfully and have satisfied customers who will buy from them regularly, not just on a single day," he said.
"Independent shops are a vital part of UK retailing and town centres benefit from a good mix of unique businesses alongside recognisable big names. Given the right conditions, independents and multiples can both thrive. It's a mistake to think one part of the sector can only succeed at the expense of another.
"Encouraging people to go into stores they wouldn't usually visit so they can experience more of the variety of the retail sector is an idea we support. But reviving high streets can't be achieved by customers alone. What's needed for the long-term is comprehensive action to support and revitalise our high streets for the benefit of all retailers. Government and local authorities need to work with businesses to create safe, attractive town centres with good transport links and affordable parking. Lower property costs and less burdensome employment legislation would make a substantial difference to the fortunes of all retailers, small and large," he added.
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